Concerto for Clarinet, percussion and Strings

0:10 First movement
10:17 Second movement
17:30 Cadenza
22:26 Third movement

The Clarinet Concerto follows the usual formal procedures of most concertos. More unusually though, the second movement leads directly to a cadenza which in turn rushes headlong into the third movement.

The first movement is a quirky mix of expanded tonality and dissonance with an occassional hint of jazz. It has two ideas that are constantly developed. The first is an opening rhythmic cell in the strings followed by the main slower theme for the clarinet. These ideas go through much transformation and distortion before a reprisal of the clarinet theme in the strings with jazzy riffs for the clarinet.

The second movement is serial in genesis but perhaps not too much in sound as the tone row is used freely enough to be tempered somewhat in places. Imitative counterpoint for muted strings opens the movement in a Bartokian vein. A central section introduces more impetus and vitality as it develops material over the tone row which is plucked by the basses. This leads to a brief climax before the strings return with the opening music in a more expansive arrangement.
Immediately following is a virtuosic cadenza that explores more motivic development and eventually traverses the clarinets complete register. Typical trills at the highest register lead to the impactful beginning of the third movement.

The third movement is rhythmically driven and again implies sonata form with two contrasting ideas. the first, heard on the strings is urgent and uncompromising. The second idea follows and is in a more tempered language with wide and disjunct melodic leaps for the clarinet to negotiate. Development follows before a dramatic and dissonant climax. A brief coda brings the work to a final and dramatic cadence.

The solo here is played by the remarkable and brilliant Anthony Pike.